May 19, Thursday
There was a meeting of an ICC sub-committee recently that came up with some very radical proposals to make ODI cricket more interesting. Briefly stated, I remember two main points -
1. A team of 12 to be applicable instead of the present 11. Only 11 take the field at any given point of time but "one and only one" player can be substituted "one and only one" times with the 12th man. In which case, the 12th man becomes part of the 11 for the remainder of the match and the one substituted takes no more part in proceedings for that match.
2. Instead of the present day 15 over fielding restrictions, to go ahead with a 20 over restriction period with the first 10 overs mandatorily having the restrictions. The remaining 10 overs can be utilized at the fielding captain's discretion in two slots of 5 overs (which could also be together ... thus making the possibility of first 20 overs of the innings having fielding restrictions a possibility).
Both ideas have been debated for long (remember Gavaskar talking about these as a commentator for at least two years now) and now they will finally be experimented with. No doubt there will be tremendous confusion in the beginning as teams grapple with the complexities of the how / when / what of the new stipulations. No longer will a captain's job be to move a fielder from slip to short cover and be done with it. Frankly, in my opinion, if these stipulations do become part and parcel of the game, the role of the off-field captain (as I like to call the coach) becomes tremendous. The on field captain has many things to worry about, as it is, including his own batting / bowling / fielding and this strategy planning only add to the pressure. The concept of substitutions and fielding restrictions gives the captain a chance to deal a killer blow to the opposition but for that the timing has to exact. No way is an on-field captain gonna be able to handle it on his own. Even with a coach sitting in the pavillion, it is difficult.
Software will probably play a larger part in cricket now ... usually one feeds information into a computer and analyses it for future strategies. Now during the course of play, the coach would probably be busy with a laptop coz working out so many things mentally would be very hard. It's something like the rain rule ... without a computer calculating stuff ball per ball, no one would really get it (unless he were a genius, which the Chuckster is not). Soon, the entire game of ODI cricket would be like that. See, mentally one can make many strategies but there is a limit to that aspect ... for a laptop totting coach, it basically makes it a hell lot easier with lesser chances for error ... no "oops ... I made a mistake ... I calculated 1 plus 1 as 11".
Anyway, the Chuckster likes both ideas simply coz from a game (I know many would dispute that even today) of bat and ball, it would become a game of bat, ball and the sharper mind among the two teams playing. Sure, today everybody is a "thinking" cricketer ... but now the thinking part won't be just theory.
I was reading an article just now where Amarnath is quoted as having said - "my brother in law helped me make the presentation as I am not too comfortable with computers" ... Ok, so one can probably have a computer analyst as part of the support cast for the cricket team (I think there is one even now) ... but that statement kinda made me depressed to think of him as our next coach.
Good news from Sania Mirza ... though she was knocked out in the qualifying round of the Strasbourg tournament, in the doubles event, she and her partner knocked out the top seeds in the main draw. Good going, girl.
To move from sports altogether, the new Harry Potter book is gonna come out on July 16 and the Chuckster is pretty excited about it. I know people consider that to be a kiddy book but hey, I still got my set of Enid Blytons from school days ... and I don't mind admitting I pick one up whenever I want to relax. The Chuckster loves the Harry Potter series (but lesser than the "Lord of the Rings") and is gonna read the new book at the first chance he gets. This being the sixth book in the series, the Chuckster was probably the first guy in Hyderabad to get his hands on the fifth book two years back ... on the day of release, book stores were under strict orders not to sell books before 10 AM. The Chuckster not knowing that reached his bookstore at 8 AM to be told by the shop guy that he would have to wait two hours to take the book. Some sweet talking and I had the book in my hands at 8:15 AM. Maybe I was the first and maybe I wasn't the first guy in Hyderabad to get the book ... the point is - The Chuckster is gonna read the new Potter the first chance he gets.
Only problem is that the book is so bloody expensive ... the new one is priced at 900 rupees and the Chuckster's wife had a fit when she heard that six months down the line, it would be available at around a hundred rupees in the pavement book markets in Hyderabad and yet, I was gonna to get my hands on it on the first day and pay 900 bucks for it. We reached a compromise whereby I try to book it online and get a discount on it (Sify is giving 25%) ... only problem is that I won't get it on the day it releases ... probably a couple of days after that coz shipping would take time. Amazon.com is delivering books in the US and UK on the same day it releases ... free delivery at that ... and in India, it takes "minimum of two working days from the release date of the book, Sir" to get the book to the Chuckster. Hell, that sucks.
Hoi all ... if anyone knows a way by which I can get the book at the same 25% discount on the same day as release (July 16), do let me know. I would appreciate it.
Anyway, Cheers ... here is to the new coach, whoever he is.